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Degree Requirements for the Graduate Program

For the Doctoral Degree:

1. In the first two years of the program:

  • Twelve four-hour seminars or courses in Philosophy including five general background courses (Group A Core Requirements)
  • A course to prepare students for teaching Philosophy
  • The M.A. examination (See below)

2. Requirements leading to dissertation research:

  • Eight additional four-hour seminars in Philosophy from various areas (Group B Core Requirements)
  • A total course requirement for the PhD of sixteen four-hour courses in Philosophy
  • There is the option of doing an internship

3. Dissertation Research

  • Cognate studies or proficiency in a foreign language are required if and only if appropriate in light of the student's dissertation topic
  • Preliminary examination
  • Writing and defense of a dissertation

For the Special Masters Degree:

  • A core requirement of six four-hour courses or seminars in philosophy of the student's choosing
  • A core supplement of either (a) an internship together with an internship report or (b) three additional four hour courses or seminars in Philosophy
  • Eight additional credit hours
  • The M.A. examination

The specific course of study required of each student, including the specifics of the M.A. examination, must be approved both by the student's M.A. Committee and the Departmental Graduate Committee. The Special M.A. Program is intended for students who have no intention to proceed to do doctoral studies in Philosophy.

The M.A. Exam:

A portfolio is required to demonstrate a student’s ability (a) to understand, analyze, and evaluate positions and arguments in classical and contemporary philosophical literature, and on a variety of topics, (b) to engage in robust philosophical research (where this includes judgments about the proper assimilation of secondary literature); and (c) to formulate and defend original philosophical theses.  These virtues must be displayed at a level of sophistication indicating the student’s ability to write a doctoral dissertation.

To satisfy this requirement, a student must submit an extended writing sample.  A successful portfolio can be expected to consist of 3-4 papers totaling around 40-60 double-spaced pages, standard fonts and margins.  These may be revisions of seminar papers.  Each paper should present and defend a definite thesis and should be accessible to faculty members unfamiliar with the literature in question.  The papers in the portfolio need not be of publishable quality, but they must, collectively, demonstrate the specified skills.  Students must include at least one paper on normative philosophy and at least one paper on non-normative philosophy.

The portfolio must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies by the first day of    classes of the student’s fifth semester (not counting summers) in residence.  Portfolios will be evaluated by the entire graduate faculty of the Philosophy Department.  Toward the end of fall semester, the graduate faculty will meet to evaluate the year’s portfolio(s).  Each faculty member will read at least one paper from each portfolio, and each paper will be read by at least one faculty member.  The possible outcomes of the Department’s deliberations are (a) pass, (b) neither pass nor fail, with specific conditions to be met by a given date (e.g., a rewrite of one or more papers), (c) fail, with permission granted for complete or partial resubmission by a given date, (d) fail, with permission to apply for a terminal M.A., (e) fail.  Portfolio candidates will be informed of the Department’s decision by the Director of Graduate Studies.